Wednesday, February 17, 2016

(Unsolicited) Marriage Advice

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

No one likes unsolicited advice.

Everyone knows this.

Yet when two people get married it seems that all the common courtesy of withholding unrequested advice gets flushed down the toilet. Once the rings are exchanged, everyone's got something to say.

The subtle implication of this uncalled-for counsel is that it's not truly out of love or kindness as the giver may perceive, but quite the opposite: the need to prove something.

Deeper Concerns

Have you looked at divorce statistics lately? The divorce rate is somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of all marriages. And I don’t know what your perception reveals to you, but it’s patently obvious to me that a great many more marriages are forced, that they would have ended long ago if it wasn’t for silly yet life-halting beliefs like, God will smite me if I divorce, and, Even though we’re supremely unhappy, we must stay together for the kids; for subconscious worries like, But if I divorce my dictator of a wife, how will I prove to myself I’m a victim?; and for semi-conscious concerns like, What will others think? (Psst—They’re probably just as unhappy as you and will condemn you if you get divorced because they don’t have the balls to go through a divorce themselves. We only judge when we’re unhappy and refuse to change.)

But many won't admit (if, in the unlikely case, they even consciously realize) that their marriage isn’t made in heaven or that it’s breaking down or any similar thing. They’ve got a wildly uncomfortable itch but are too afraid to scratch it.

I can’t quite see this itchy bump in the middle of my back. I’m hoping like mad it’s just a hive, but, damn—if it turns out I scratch open some pus-filled abscess, not even God will be able to save me.

Irresponsibly Dumping Out Advice

What a delightful opportunity, then, an infrequent wedding invite is.

I’ve waited 10 years for this! The opportunity to prove that I’ve learned something about marriage and life and happiness!

But nothing’s been learned. Nothing really valuable, anyway. Hence, why the advice “must” be given: Self-“proof” without the hard and uncomfortable work of in-looking and self-development.

This is made clearer by the fact that the advice is often given in a humor-like, I’m-not-really-serious-but-I’m-really-serious kind of way, for behaviors like these are guilt and shame, personified. The unwarranted counsel giver realizes on a half-conscious level that:
  1. S/he’s breaking the cardinal rule of unsolicited advice: Don’t give it, and
  2. S/he ain’t been livin’ up to that shit his- or herself.

Ideated Or Integrated

So many people, too many people, have the idea lodged in their minds that to have something intellectualized is to know all there is about it.

This is just not so.

The mind offers us nothing but a theoretical framework, a starting point. It is then by our action or non-action that we chose to either transform these concepts into experience and wisdom or just stow them away with all our other de-act-ivated mental data.

Marriage takes work. Work with other, yes. But it takes self-work. Because all that’s “out there” is a reflection of what’s “in here.” Most often, marriages don’t work (whether they’ve reached the separation stage or not) because people refuse to accept in themselves the triggers that are pulled wittingly or unwittingly by their significant others. People opt for blame, anger, and resentment instead.

Dumping out unsolicited advice ends up being a matter of course. It’s a way to dump on others whatever it is the counsel donors haven’t experienced as true themselves but think they can prove it so by “teaching” it to others.

Surely, if I can give the advice, then I’ve learned the lesson. And if I've learned the lesson then I can just try to ignore the discomfort because, well, it's just the way life is—uncomfortable...

The Buddhist and the Hotdog

You ever hear the one about the Buddhist monk at the hot dog stand?

When the attendant asked him what he wanted, the monk said, “Make me one with everything.”

“It’ll be three dollars.”

After the monk paid with a five but the attendant didn’t give him his two dollars return, the monk asked, “Where’s my change?”

The attendant told him, “Change comes from within.”

Choose Your Destiny

Marriage can be bliss. Marriage can also be an utter disaster.

It really just depends on how long one wants to give self-directed advice to a mirror rather than proving out (or disproving and accepting) so-called advice for one’s self experientally.

It really just depends when the individual wants to change within.

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